You don’t see a common man flying in a helicopter that often. So when you get chance, why not use it. This is one activity which wasn't planned. We did see the helicopter line choppers parked in a facility when we were in Mt. Cook. When we inquired, they were organizing short tips to Tasman glacier & they land on the Glacier itself. We were reluctant to make a booking, instead we went ahead with our own plan and just dropped it.
When we arrived in Queenstown, we again saw advertisement for helicopter tours. This time we decided to take it seriously and booked on the last day morning of our trip. Weather was just perfect & we had snow the previous night
Place: Queenstown Airport, New Zealand
Things to Know before you Go
Cost: 150 NZD/person (Approx 7000 INR). The Normal price is $195 (Approx 9500 INR) Photos & Videos by our own methods. They did offer a photo album with some details, history & a photo of us. But it was not impressive like the jet boat or bungy. We didn't opt for it
What to Wear?
Casual is always fine, unless you do a quick photoshoot on the top of the mountain. We were looking for a snow landing as it was winter, so we had our boots on. It was windy up there, so get your jackets. Get other accessories which suits you (for photography purposes)
You don’t need any preparation upfront. Try to get there before your scheduled time. The seating arrangement is based on weights of the person flying, so you have no choices/preferences
Normally it’s a group of 5 or 6, don’t remember clearly. If you are a large group, you can book the entire ride.
Weather is the prime factor in this tour, so you need to flexible with the booking. They offer alternate days if the tour has to be cancelled.
Landings are also not guaranteed considering the weather & terrain.
Flying on a helicopter is interesting & amazing, but select tours which offers landing. That’s when you get the most out of tour rather than just flying around. We opted for the Queenstown tour with snow landing
How to get there?
You can drive and it takes 20 minutes to reach the Queenstown airport from city Centre. There is a special base for choppers and it’s not hard to find. We chose helicopter line and they offered us free pickup and drop from our AIRBNB accommodation
Highlights of the Ride
One you reach the base, the captain will give all the safety instructions, introduction about the ride, dos’ and don’t’ s, duration, what to expect and complete overview.
When the moment comes, you feel blood running all over your body, hot ears & heart pumping at a faster rate. The Initial moments though will make you hold your breath. The reason is that unlike an aeroplane, the chopper lifts off so quickly and is a vertical lift. Also its light weight making you feel you are almost hanging out in thin air. Sitting on the front seat is even more thrilling as it is almost transparent on the front side
15 minutes in the ride, you’ll see all of Queenstown and will be top of one of the mountains with snow all over it. You feel like Billa Ajith, walking beneath the chopper and saying “I’m Back”. All that you can do in 10 minutes. Time to descend now
The descend is the most enjoyable. Your nerves have relaxed and slowly you’ll look around. It is another thrill ride which we enjoyed in Queenstown
What we could have did to make things better
We could have taken little more photos & videos. But no regrets!
Conclusion & Our Recommendation
There are many more options with the flights, ranging from 20 minutes to day trips, Glacier landings and private tours. Just look for what exactly you need and how much you can afford. Some of the tours are really expense and the ones which we went were really affordable.
Will we go on another helicopter tour??? Of course, a big YES!
Our Recommendation: Bucketlist